Mar 03, 2011 News
“People tend to forget when they are not reminded regularly,” said Minister of Health, Dr Leslie Ramsammy, as he commented on the Ministry’s sustained efforts to resist any possible infiltration of cholera.
It was during the latter part of last year that earthquake-affected Haiti had seen a number of deaths resulting from the impact of the waterborne disease.
As part of its preventative measure the local Ministry of Health had issued an advisory emphasising the importance of ensuring that potable water remains safe for consumption. It was a matter of months after the Ministry’s advisory that evidence of the presence of the disease had emerged in neighbouring Venezuela causing much concern about its potential entry in to Guyana.
The Ministry has seen the need to sustain its anti-cholera programme. “It is still on. We are working in many communities because when all is said and done cholera is waterborne and it is about us promoting the use of safe water,” Minister Ramsammy noted.
He said that since cholera was detected in Haiti he was of the view that instead of just availing funds towards rebuilding, major emphasis should have been placed on giving people clean water.
Guyana has been directing much focus on the need for clean water. “We are focused on ensuring that people have access, and where they don’t that they are making their water clean.
“We have got to educate people to boil their water and so on. Because of that we are in a good position to prevent cholera. The danger came so close to Venezuela but they were able to do a good job to quarantine the problem to one specific area,” the Minister revealed.
According to him though, he is not aware that there has since been any other active case reported in Venezuela. He added, too, that Guyana is poised to take on a similar proactive approach to quickly identify any possible threat.
He said that Venezuela was able to arrest the problem swiftly by ascertaining where the cases were, confining them and successfully stopping them.
The Ministry of Health’s campaign has seen measures being taken to raise awareness about the importance of clean water use in the various Regions, Minister Ramsammy said. He revealed that sensitisation sessions are currently being held within schools, countrywide.
In addition, he said, that the Ministry is printing hundreds of posters to serve as permanent reminders to the public.
But according to the Minister, his Ministry was already prepared to deal with cholera ahead of the outbreak in Haiti with its ‘Clean Water, Safe Water’ programme. “So we are just building on what we have already,” he added.
He said that sensitisation efforts are currently continuing in Regions One, Seven, Eight, and Nine with the use of Pure which is a powder mix used to purify water. “That is why for me during the recent heavy rains (which saw some amount of inundation) I had to restraint my public health workers from distributing all of our Pure. We need to be careful that we do not waste our stock and preserve for more urgent needs.”
During the latter part of last year Guyana was faced with a spell of rainfall that had even then raised concern about the possibility of a flooding situation, a state of affairs Minister Ramsammy had warned should not be taken for granted.
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